Blogging From 2002
February 12, 2005
June 26th –
I wrote that I was depressed. I didn’t mean to write it. I didn’t even begin writing it like that. My old roommate was hiking the Appalachian Trail, and I was merely writing him a letter. I was alone on my birthday for the first time in my life, Panic attacks were beginning to control my life, making me feel like I was in a box that kept getting smaller and smaller. That day was one of the worst of my adult life. One week later, I was off to Florida for a run of DMB shows.
July 3th –
I hopped in my car with a friend from college and drove to Atlanta. We met up with another friend who like us, tapes shows. From there, we were off to Singer Island, FL. I was more excited for the DMB shows than nervous. I guess that’s a good thing.
July 4th –
That afternoon we met up with a dozen other DMB friends at our hotel. I guess I need to explain what a "DMB friend" is. In the spring of 2000 I searched the internet for digital recordings of DMB shows. In that search, I became friends with a number of people who were expanding the digital DMB community and trying to create a format for easy access to DMB recordings. I eventually bought some microphones, a pre-amp, and a DAT recorder to joint the crowd of "DMB tapers" and their community. Summer after summer we would meet up at Deer Creek, Camden, Hartford... wherever our time off from school and work would take us. It's hard to describe the bond we have with one another... it's like a fellow Marine.
I don't spend much time at my seat during DMB shows. I want to experience the crowd, the venue, everything about the evening. It's not about staring at Dave Matthews for two hours (personally, I'd rather watch Carter and his amazing drum work for two minutes, but that's not the point). I spend my $60 for the people there, the friends from all over the country I rarely see, even the weather - good or bad. During the course of this blog, when I say I sat second row at a show, I'm not showing off, I was only at that spot for half the show.
July 5th –
I sat second row center. My only memory is cutting in front of about 100 cars to get out of the parking lot in a reasonable amount of time. I swear, you can spend more time getting out of the venue than you actually spend in the venue. The old Foxboro parking lot during the construction for the new stadium was the absolute worst. Thank God we had fireworks to kill time. At WPB, we just hightailed it out of there! I felt pretty good after the show. The anxiety had subsided after finally getting the first show under my belt. We’ll see how the rest goes.
I got lucky that night. Not only did I survive the night sleeping on the hotel balcony, but all of our DMB people were sitting close to each other at the show. Thanks to a friend keeping an eye on Ticketmaster.com (I'll call him my "Number 1" for the rest of the story) a few weeks earlier, we were all within a couple of rows on Boyd's side. It's so much more fun having everyone together. I was row "W" that night with another taper.
July 7th -
We’re off to the ATL and show #3. I know I let someone else drive from WPB to Atlanta while I slept in the back seat. I was still a bit anxious, but the nervousness was outweighed by the excitement of seeing another show. I was also nervous because someone else was driving. It’s not that I don’t trust people, I just like the idea of driving myself (or my friends). I guess that’s why I hate flying. At least when I’m in the car, I can swerve out of the way, in a plane, I feel a bit helpless just sitting there.
July 8th -
I remember it well. So many issues, so little time. First, keep this in mind: a Honda Accord will not start unless it’s in PARK. That’s an important lesson in life. That show was the first and last time I ever left my ticket for a DMB show at home (the hotel). 6:15pm I get in a gold Jeep Cherokee with tires as big as the car itself and PLOW up I-85 in rush-hour traffic. I Bobbed and weaved all OVER the place for 20 minutes. 7:00pm charge into the room, get the tickets, switch cars to my Accord, and take off with my tickets back to Lakewood thinking I have plenty of time. I walk to my seat at 8:05 thinking there's 20 minutes to kill. Wrong! The band starts up early that night and I JUST made it. I Decided that I'd rather hang out at he back of the pavilion than be in the fourth row by myself, so I gave my seat to a friend in the back and just hung out in the crowd. Smoking cigarettes in the seats with no worries was definitely a first (you could smoke at any seat in the house). I spent "Jimi Thing" walking around and talking to DMB security about what happened to the people who webcast the Buffalo show the year before (June 16, 2001) and why IEM security was so tight that summer. They had no idea what I was talking about. After the gig my friends and I spent 30 minutes listening to our tapes. That was a good network time killer while we all tried to find out why my car wouldn't start. I cranked it up, got a jump, and still no luck. 30 minutes is a long time to spend in a parking lot, especially when your car is obviously dead. Maybe the car switch was a bad idea? Maybe the Accord’s not in PARK? Hey! What do you know, it DID start when in PARK!
July 9th -
There were three of us that continued on to Nashville. What would a trip to Tennessee be without a little stop at the Jack Daniels Distillery? Exactly! It wouldn’t be any sort of trip at all! Had we known JD wasn't sold within five counties of Lynchburg, we would’ve kept on driving. You couldn’t even get a sample! For those of you not living in the south, they have these things called “dry counties”, where alcohol is not sold. And because God has a sense of humor, the Jack Daniels Distillery is in one of em. I wrote an e-card from the JD computers to a DMB taping yahoogroup that day. The picture taken of me and my two friends outside of the distillery is still one of my favorites. I sat with another DMB taper in the second row Boyd's side, but spent most of the night at the ATM machine getting money for further adventures. I Completely missed Two Step, I'm sorry to say (it was one of the best that tour). Quite a few of us were at the hotel late that night. Met a couple of new friends whom I would see quite a bit later on. It’s good to run into people that can help you out later in the tour, just in case I’m going to more shows then I thought.
July 10th –
This date will go down in my memory as one of the most memorable days in my life. First, we had to figure out how to fit four DMB Tapers luggage and recording gear in a four-door Honda Accord THEN fit a fifth person's luggage AND the five of us in the car. I vividly remember the parking lot conversation and the twenty minutes it took to figure this out. How, you ask, did it all work? One of our travelers worked for a major airline, and was an expert in packing luggage into tight spaces. The trunk was packed to the brim, but closed perfectly. Three taping bags fit snugly in the rear window space. The four of us fit in; we still had room to run a laptop to watch Shawshank Redemption. We departed for North Carolina and that night that I realized that this summer would either release me of the personal problems I was having in my life or put me in jail. So far, I was feeling pretty good, but I still would get that queasy feeling. The shows were helping. Jail, on the other hand, would not help. It's 2:00am on an unnamed college campus and we're climbing the construction site at our new student union. Next thing I know, one of us is operating heavy machinery, dispensing on-site diesel fuel, and walking away with an in-ground sign to the University Bookstore (I still have that sign, by-the-way- for therapeutic reasons of course). There were pictures taken of the incident taken, though the odds of those leaking are the same as us getting another DMB NYE show.
July 11th –
We were off to Raleigh. I was eighth row and remember Watchtower being KILLER. A friendship began that night with another DMB friend who was traveling the East Coast for DMB. We met at Penn State in April in a meeting of total chance. On April 5th in College Station I was front row for DMB and looked around to find other tapers. I saw this guy who was third row with a nice rig. I thought I knew just about all of the popular tapers who pulled such good seats, but I didn't know this guy. After talking to him, We swapped phone calls for a few months and planned on seeing each other at some shows over the summer. By the end of the tour I was asked to be a groomsman in his wedding. The post-show party after the Raleigh show was classic. My friends and I started at a Shoney's parking lot a few miles from the venue. After a few drinks and an hour later our usual crowd of people began to trickle in. We went next door to the Checkout (think Steak & Shake with hush puppies) and infiltrated the establishment. We broke out the lawn chairs in the parking lot, barricaded the handicapped spaces, and set up our guitars and taping gear. I'd say there was 15-20 of us there for a couple of hours. We ran out of Coke-a-Cola, so I decided to walk through he drive through and display by bartering skills - we get Coke, they get Jack. It was based on the old barter system, so it was more of an educational process when you think of it like that. I've got a classic picture of a young lady working the drive thru with me standing next to her holding up our goods of trade. We made our way to a friend's house on the outskirts of Raleigh. He was out of town for the week, so we had the whole place with virtually no rules. My roommate and I went outside for a little while to get away from the crowd. We chat about the summer so far and friends (I'm sure that's what we talked about... it's what we usually talk about during the summer). It was nice to just relax a bit and chat with an old friend… until… we both start to feel sick. I’m not sure what kind of tree we ran to, but I’m sure the tree hasn’t been the same since. All of a sudden, we both fall to the ground in a semi-conscious stupor and burst into laughter. I get up and drag him back to the house by one leg. I collapse next to him from the exhaustion and we pass out. Next morning we wake up covered in morning dew at 7:00am. Not exactly the greatest night, but in retrospect, except for the tree, no one was worse for the ware.
July 12th –
We were off to Charlotte. Last time I did this trip for DMB was on September 1, 1996 for my second DMB show. I was really excited because my sister would be at the show. I gave her my 4th row tickets so that her and her boyfriend could enjoy their only DMB show of the year from up in the front rows. One of the things I always enjoyed was trading seats with someone a bit farther back so I could get a better sound when I taped a show. The look on people’s faces is heart-warming when I offer them my 2nd row seats for their 8th row seats. Setting my sister up was even better. We spent 3 or 4 songs in the lawn just talking and hanging out. We get back to the hotel that night and I ‘loaned’ (read: gave away without a chance of seeing it again) a couple of guys $10 to catch a bus back home to South Carolina. I've always wondered if I was scammed or not. Here's some traveling advice: having a sister who works for a major hotel chain ROCKS. We got a room at the Sheraton for $25 and spent the evening. Seeing my sister certainly helped me in getting on the plus side of my blues.
Virginia Beach is the destination. No party today, we're all totally BEAT. I totally forget where I sat that night... somewhere on Boyd's side. I remember quite a few friends coming down from New England for the show and we spent a lot of time talking near the concessions. We drove back to Raleigh that night and crashed HARD. It was a well-earned good night’s rest. That helped too.
July 14th –
I took my friend from Atlanta back home and stayed there for the night.
July 15th –
I drove back to school. I had a much needed rest and even more needed time doing laundry.
The next two days were boring. I had "the itch." Anxious, jittery, needing to do something. It was almost like the anxiety was coming back. I thought I was through it, but I guess I wasn’t. I still wasn’t done finding myself. You know, a DMB show or two migh help.
July 17th –
I wrote and e-mail to a yahoogroup I belonged to with a lot of other DMB friends saying something like, "Find me some decent seats to tomorrow night's show in Camden and I'll get there."
July 18th –
I had clothes for three days, no thoughts on what this was going to cost, but what the hell. I had decided I wanted to do everything. Money was not going to stop me; only my desire to experience life to the fullest and a need to spend time with the greatest friends in the world with the greatest band in the world mattered now. As I was driving, I said to myself, ‘how did this happen’?
I awoke that day with a phone call and a slight headache at 9:00am. Maybe I wrote an email to the yahoogroup last night? Maybe the last glass of JD wasn’t as good of an idea as it seemed at the time? One of the members of the yahoogroup was calling me to tell me to check my computer and to get ready for a drive up north. I got to the computer which is COVERED with AOLIM's. "We've got a ticket, start driving." That was good enough for me: thirty minutes later, I'm out the door. With a few Capitol Beltway traffic updates from my "Number 1", I arrive at the venue at 7:30pm with a 7th row center ticket waiting.
The band debuting Kit kat and Captain two nights earlier didn't hurt my plans either. After the show I crashed with friends at a hotel in a nearby town (I took the letters off the door to the room and still have them – again, therapy, merely therapy). I met a woman that night who befriended our crowd after the first Camden show. She was really nice and was so glad to have a crowd to party with after the shows. If you stayed at a hotel and were woken up at 5:00am by loud obnoxious college kids in the swimming pool, I'm sorry, we were trying to be as quiet as possible. On the way back to the room, soaking wet, I decide to steal some paint brushes from the maintenance shed. Why I did this is still a mystery. So I take two brushes and a spatula and head back to the hotel. Turns out the brushes were saturated completely with paint thinner that made my luggage bag REEK for the rest of the trip... pure karma.
July 19th –
I ate buffalo wings at their birthplace, the anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY. Didn't think I was gonna go to Darien, but it happens. I still have another day of clean clothes.
July 20th –
I sat with a new friend that I met in Nashville the week before during the show. We leaned against the metal rail on LeRoi's side and just talked all show. I'm so glad I met him. I was at his wedding this past July (TEAM USA!). Another late night of post-show fubar, so, I figured I've come this far, might as well drag a few people down with me. My friend from Long Island was getting talked into Hershey, and together we were off. Where will we stay? Who will be there? Will my friend make it back in time to continue his internship in New York? Who knows? Who cares!
We got to Hershey Park and realize it's a family oriented theme park with a 35,000 capacity venue on the property. Mounted police and a no-grill policy tried to put a dent in the day. What an ugly venue: it Looks like it was built as a warehouse in the 1870's. Terrible sound, lines for the MENS restrooms, it was just… Hershey Park Stadium is in my top 3 concert venues that you need to go to. It’s beyond all of that stuff, it’s just a special place despite all the shortcomings. Anyway, my LI friend and I decide we want to record the soundcheck with his taping gear. We head around to the East Side of the venue and raise the stand up as venue security heads our way. I am convinced that the people who work at large capacity venues are either a) 30-something men who were not accepted into the police academy; or b) police officers who just can't get enough authority out of their 9-to-5 job. Don't get me wrong, we need them at venues for protection when things get out of hand, but to be rude and offensive to two harmless college kids armed with nothing more than a pair of microphones and a bag of DAT tapes in just unnecessary. Rudi took our picture for the Warehouse fans page in that night's set of pictures. What a great time with friends before the show. I really like that crowd of people I was with that night. So, the show ends and my Long Island friend hops a ride home. I'm stuck in Hershey, PA with another friend with no hotel room (EVERYTHING is booked from there to Philly), no friend's hose to crash in, what to do? I called up the new friend we made in Camden because I thought she lived in the area. Turned out she didn't, but she would call around and try to get me a hotel room. Ten minutes later I get a call from her saying she got me a room and the Hershey Hotel and to check in under her name. Hershey Hotel? I'd never heard of it... probably some dump downtown for $15 a night (hourly rates available). So I FINALLY get out of the parking lot head to the nearest hotel to ask for directions. In the lobby I ask the clerk, "I hate to ask you for help about one of your competitors, but do you know where the Hershey Hotel is?" They tell me their not really a competitor of theirs, but she nicely gives me directions and wishes me luck. I weaved around the back roads that cover the area near Hershey Park and get to a colossal size mansion. The Hotel Hershey: Valet parking and a bellhop later I'm in the lobby inhaling free chocolate (you're ALWAYS hungry after a day of drinking and a DMB show) watching guards looking like the Secret Service stare at me in my torn shorts and t-shirt. When you stay at a fancy joint like that, the guards/staff are terrified to say anything to you, because they don’t’ know if you’re loaded (with money, that is) or not. They can only stare as I stuff my face with chocolate. Nice. My other friend who needed a place to crash joined me in the room for mandatory room service and drinks. An hour later we're causing a ruckus in the lobby at the water fountain. I swear the security SS folks were totally freaked out by us. I've got about 30 digital camera pictures from my time spent in Hershey, PA that I will cherish, always.
July 22nd –
I’m telling myself, I can't go to Hartford. I said it over and over again. All my friends insisted that I had to go, but it was just impossible. I had to go home, rest, do laundry (the clean clothes were long gone by now). "OK, I'll do Mansfield, but NO WAY am I doing Hartford." I make it back to Long Island to stay with my friend for the night before I left town. I was feeling pretty good emotionally, but Hartford was still a no!
July 23rd –
I met up with another friend in Queens and we leave town. Mansfield wasn't too exciting. You can't drink in the venue without and in-state drivers license, nor can you use an ID that is a duplicate. I do remember getting the first Proudest Monkey of the tour that night, which was nice. I still like those 1995 versions with Dave jibber-jabbering before the segue to Satellite. After the show we went back to Queens. Although it's time to go home, I'm happy about my trip north. More shows, more friends, good times. More good feelings for me.
I have no idea what I did this day, but I know I didn't go home. No, the call was too great.
July 25/26th –
Hartford, here I come! It was my first time at the Red Roof across the street from the venue. I put these two days together because, well, I'f you've done a two or three show run in Hartford before, you know why - no way can you distinguish one days events with the others. You see, if you're gonna do the Hartford shows and you don't live in the area, you've GOT to stay at the Red Roof. It’s one huge block party. College kids are everywhere, grills out in the parking lot, just one big party. The problem is you only get one parking pass per room and they WILL tow cars 24 hours a day. Solution: take your car across the street to the car dealership for an oil change and pick it up two days later. The whole weekend is really a blur. I remember taking my car to the car dealership, watching my friend's car get towed out of the Red Roof lot. Other than that, I only know I was there by the concert tickets.
July 27th –
I went back to Long Island before going home. I've GOT to go home! I don't even think I did laundry after Hershey. A two day trip has turned into a ten day trip... this is insane. So, why not go to SPAC? There's a front row ticket with my name on it. But the laundry! Oh well… sorry for everyone sitting downwind from me.
We met up in Rye, NY and headed out. SPAC is the most chaotic venues in the most beautiful area. There's a state park in upstate New York that the New York State Orchestra decided to put their summer home in. A unique setup with an upper deck in the pavilion with long walkways from the back of the lawn to the upper level seats. The stage is very low to the ground, so when you're front row, you're at eye level to the smaller guys on stage. I was given a back stage pass from a friend and ate sandwiches after the show (again, after a day of drinking and a night's show, you're ALWAYS hungry). I really had no desire to see any band members or do the, "Oh my God, it's Dave Matthews!" thing. I just needed a bed. Not only is the traffic getting into SPAC a bumper-to-bumper ordeal, getting out is even worse. Remember my friend who got us the Hotel Hershey room? She hooked me up in Saratoga and I had a bed to myself that night, which was a nice treat. After all of the crammed hotel rooms and friends' couches, I rarely got a bed to sleep in all summer.
I'm going home! I remember the scenery on the interstate heading toward New Jersey that morning. It was so nice and gave me some time to reflect on the month and what I'd experienced... and I still had another seven shows to hit in the next two weeks. I really miss that exited, anxious feeling. Ya know, when this really awesome experience is about to happen and you just can't wait for it. Not to cliche, but it’s the kid at Christmas feeling. I'd made so many new friends and had so many good experiences. CAN'T WAIT for StarLake. Oh Yea, that anxiety panic thingie is almost gone.
No really, I CAN'T WAIT for StarLake... so, I got talked into Nissan. I'd been pressured pretty hard by a few for it and finally caved. What the hell, let's got to Virginia Tech and kick it with a few friends tonight, then head to the show tomorrow. So my roommate and a few folks from Chicago went over the top all night. There's a one or two pictures of us just COMPLETELY done. What a way to start off another round of shows.
July 31st -
Nissan. Another drive on I-81, another beautiful day. I was first row in the section behind the ORCH on Boyd's side. There was a point in the show during Bartender when I had a "moment" I guess you'd call it. I closed my eyes and kind of put my head down and just listened. I started thinking about how I first heard this band and all of the life's experiences I'd had at certain times while listening to DMB. A band, just a band had had such a profound effect on my life. I remember where I was when I listened to Crash for the first time. I'd seen over 60 shows now. I'd met dozens of really good friends from all over the world. I was spending every weekend I could in New York City with a good DMB friend of mine. My life was quite literally being defined by these five guys and their road crew with this music that I could not get anywhere else. Suddenly, the anxiety and panic attacks were wiped away from me. I literally felt like I now controlled my life.
August 1st –
What a classic day. Just completely typical of my "live by the seat of my pants" attitude all summer. I left the DC area on my way to Pittsburgh for StarLake with no place to stay that night. I was dead-set on not getting a hotel that night, I mean, I had to know SOMEBODY in the area. I hit I-70 and hop on the phone. Who else do I call but my "Number 1." He writes some e-mails, and keeps me posted. By the time I hit West Virginia I've got a place to crash with another taper in a very nice house in Pittsburgh. Perfect. He has such a nice family; I've always been thankful for hospitality at a time when I slept on the floor five nights out of the week for two months. We drove around town that night, met his sister's friends, good time.
I got a free meal from a Country Club. That rocks, even without the liquor aperitif. While we were there my friend got a call from a girl he knows who was at a gym downtown and met Dave Matthews in there while she was working out... then you start to get the excitement of another show coming up. I specifically remember driving to the venue across Pittsburgh and to the Western border of the state.
I had totally not planned on going to this show. I got kinda screwed around with my seat buddy and didn't end up with a ticket, so I got tickets to the Pirates game instead and was dead set on going to it. This was during the time when baseball players and owners wanted more money to play their boring game and everyone was generally pissed off at that. So, being the loud-mouthed kid I was, I was gonna go with some sort of "Greedy bastards" sign and sit in right field (never mind that I paid $13 for the ticket and thus supported their greediness). But a savior came in the form and a good DMB friend who had a free ticket Roi's side, row K. I forget how she got it, but it was at will-call and it was mine. Screw you baseball, I'm goin' to see the boys tonight. It was another friend's birthday tonight so we partied pretty hard this night. I still have a kazoo from the post-show antics. I don’t know how.
August 4th –
I crashed in Pittsburgh one more night. I needed a night to recover and review my summer. It began depressed, and without any DMB, and it’s now cheery and full of DMB.
I drove to Columbus. I checked into the hotel and headed to the airport to pick up another DMB friend flying in from Arizona. What a couple of days!. I put them together because, like Hartford, the four of us did it up and did it up RIGHT. I slept on the balcony, again. Mr. Tucson passed out in the car leaving the parking lot one night. He slept in the car for an hour, then had to be wheeled by us up to the room in a bell cart. We hit the bar each day at around noon before the show. We totally missed 41>Say Goodbye because we were heading to the Camel Casbah since there was no line for beer inside. Speaking of, the Camel Casbah saved me about $200 in cigarettes all summer. Every venue had one and gave out at least 2 packs of cigarettes, just beautiful. So many little things that happened that weekend that make me roll over in laughter... I said goodbye to a friend that day who I'd run into at about a dozen shows all summer. He remains a very good friend of mine who actually lives in he same town as me now.
I drove to a friend's place in Cincinnati. Rather then rest, we partied all night.
The Day started fine... drinks and things. Without too much detail I was presented with a choice, I made a poor decision, and for the five hours leading up the show time I'm sure I was doing stuff, but don't know what. It was a hellava show that night. Had a really good time that night with everyone. There's a friend With whom I work on another DMB internet site with who lives in Cincinnati who was up front center that night. He's just TOTALLY into the show from start to finish. I remember looking at him a few times that night thinking, "That's so awesome that he's up front in his hometown and can have a really good time."
August 9-11th –
SOYBEANS AND CORN! WAH-HOO! That’s Deer Creek for you. There's a campground about a mile down the road from the venue called Dead Creek Campground. Our crowd is very quick to reserve the area to the immediate right of the entrance. It’s usually 25 of us for those three days just totally excessive in everything. Food, drinks; the skies the limit. The days just kinda squish together, but we devised the plan of plans: keep a hotel room a few miles away to shower and clean up in the mornings, but camp at night at the venue. One night there was talk about me and the shows I'd done this year and all-of-a-sudden someone brings up Gorge. NO WAY I am going to Gorge. I don't fly and it's a 35-40 hour drive, EACH WAY. Hell, why not? Why not skip a few days of school and drive to Gorge? Yeah, I'll do it. So now I'm gonna leave Indianapolis, drive to Colorado to see my dad for almost two weeks, go back to school on the East Coast, drive to Gorge the first week of September, drive home the third week of September. Yeah.
August 12-23rd -
I drove to Kansas City on August 12 to hang with another DMB friend for a couple of days. She lives VERY close to Sandstone, but alas, there was no DMB there for a couple weeks. While I was staying there a friend from Chicago talked me into flying with her to the Gorge instead of driving. Good call, but DAMN I was nervous for the next three weeks about flying, not to mention that I'd drive 11 hours to Chicago to catch the flight with her. At least I won't miss as much school as before... WRONG... Off to Denver for a wedding a couple days later and then met my dad at in the amphitheater of Red Rocks on the 17th. It was the first time I'd seen the venue and man is it beautiful. DMB needs to do a four or five night run at that place. I'm sorry to you Gorge fanatics, but apart from it being a little small, Red Rocks blows the Gorge away. Go to the top of the seats between those two huge rocks, look out over the city of Denver to your left and the plateau of Eastern Colorado on the right and tell me it's not in the top three most beautiful views you've ever seen. I've been to 44 states, 15 countries and haven't seen a better sight.
August 24th –
I left Gunnison, Colorado to drive to St. Louis to stay with a friend on my way home. He keeps saying, "You'll be back tomorrow for the shows." I honestly had no desire to keep going on with the tour. I hadn't been home for more than 24 hours since July 16 and I was just tired. You can't keep living that kind of excessive lifestyle for that long until something begins to break. Either you start to get REALLY sick (I'd lost my voice a few times already) or you're so worn out and tired that it's just no fun. That night we went down town to get some jazz and late night fun.
August 25th –
I say goodbye to my friend and hit the highway. Ten hours later I was home. Again. My roommate was like, "dude, good to see you, wanna pay some rent?" You have to decide if you want to pay bills or follow DMB all summer. We never got evicted and the landlord was cool with some late payments. Never mind that a few months later I ripped down the stairwell to the apartment complex, DAMN near got arrested, AND made the front page of the newspaper (another GREAT story for another website, I think). Anyway, I did get home do laundry for the first time in God knows how long and RELAXED.
August 26th –
I'm not really sure how it happened, but I drove BACK to St. Louis on this day and went to the shows. I remember from whom I got the tickets from and everything, but I don't think he talked me into it. I was third row center first night. We had a night at our friend's house. Another floor to sleep on. Typical.
August 27th –
We had a typical late start to the day, sat at the back of the pavilion this night. And then it happened. I got a REALLY bad anxiety attack for the first time since the start of all of this traveling. We were about mid-way through the DMB set when it hit. This was the first time it had happened at a DMB show and it totally ruined it. I started to think that this last hiatus back to the Midwest was a bad idea. Maybe this is God telling me that I need to calm down and get my ass back to school. Maybe this is my body's way of rejecting all of this craziness that is DMB Tour Season. Whatever it is I got talked into Chicago and Alpine. At least I can reason with the attacks now, which is a lot better then what it was before.
August 28th –
On my way out of St. Louis I decided to go to the Arch. It's right on the Mississippi in downtown St. Louis. You get on this little clickity-clack train thing that curves as it goes up the Arch. The view is magnificent. Words don't do it justice, so I won't try to describe it. I continue on to Chicago and stay near Lake Shore with a friend. She's just starting law school, so she's busy with class and all that so I have the day to just do nothing really.
She and I headed to the venue. For the first time I bought a ticket in the parking lot. We had lawn seats with the intention of stubbing up. I hung out with a friend from Colorado going to school in Michigan. The whole second half of the show there's this girl sitting next to us yacking all over herself. I never understood that. I mean, we've all gone over the top before, but this is probably her one DMB show all year and it's completely wasted by her being completely wasted. Not to mention I have to smell that the rest of the evening. Then her friends had to take care of her all night and ruin their night too. Tweeter Center - Chicago, what an ugly venue. In the bottom three on my list, easily.
August 30th –
WRIGLEY FIELD BABY! I got tickets during the 4th inning for five bucks a piece. Someone got a few classic shots of me in front of the baseball field with my Oasis shirt on acting like I was Liam Gallagher on our way to the Cubby Bear. I've still yet to see them. Not sure what we did that night. Maybe that’s why I’ve never seen them.
August 31st Sept 1st-
A friend's house is near Illinois/Wisconsin border, there I went for the Alpine shows. Let me tell you how you do the Alpine shows folks: Imagine 25 people on a school bus with beer, and stuff with someone else driving for an hour taking them to a DMB shows. That's how you do Alpine. Not only that, but you stop the big yellow school bus at the liquor store on the way. I've got a classic shot of my "Number 1" in front of the bus at the liquor store. I'm not sure what night it was but the party just about ended on the way to the show. We're on the bus, doing all of those things you pray NEVER go on inside a school bus... all of a sudden there's a cop about 8 cars back that throws his lights on. The car in front of him pulls over, the cop moves forward... the next car pulls over, the cop moves forward... the next car pulls over, the cop moves forward. I'm in the back seat of the bus getting really nervous and I get everyone's attention. We're all staring out the back window freaking out. the next car pulls over, the cop moves forward... Everyone's saying the letter "O" and a four letter word... the next car pulls over, the cop moves forward... Now it's the cop, a car, and us. I was CONVINCED we were getting pulled over, going to jail... IN WISCONSIN! The car pulls over... the cop pulls over behind him. The shout a great cheer of relief and excitement. From that point on the weekend seemed to just take off. Watching the half naked girls on the slip-and-slide in the grassy field at the venue, the ASTB and Stir It Up at the shows... Again, my "Number 1" hooked us up with a string of tickets very close to each other up front on Boyd's side that second night. What fun... until you have to walk up the big-ass hill to get out of the venue, that sucks... (to add, DMB mentions how this is their favorite venue to play, but from a fan's point of view the crowd was just a total drunken mess. There are the really drunk people at shows like myself, but then there's the really drunk people who fall over on others, spill their drinks, are loud and obnoxious... you know, they just do everything stupid to ruin the fun of those around them. I find Alpine to be a venue like this. No offense to those who regularly attend DMB shows here, and It's not EVERYONE, but just in general it's a nasty place, IMHO.) After the second night's show I stayed up WAAAAYYYYY late playing, umm... "Go Fish." I played so much "Go Fish" that I couldn't move, couldn't talk, I couldn't do ANYTHING. I kept talking others into playing "Go Fish" and they play a LOT of "Go Fish." It reached a point where I was playing "Go Fish" by myself. I slept on a hardwood floor that night with no blanket or pillow FREEZING cold from the air conditioner.
September 2nd –
I drove back to school today. I traveled Fourteen hours home and I'm driving back to Chicago in 4 days.
September 3rd –
I think it’s time I went to school. In my Business Law class, my professor was taking roll and comes to my name. I say I'm here and he asks, "You've been missing for a few weeks, where were you?" I told him I was "traveling." He said, "Well I hope you were somewhere nice like in the Caribbean, St, Thomas maybe." I replied nonchalantly, "Umm, I was in St. LOUIS for a while." Everyone laughed. The professor would not have laughed if he knew I’d miss the next weeks classes too.
September 4th –
I drove to Chicago to catch the flight to Seattle. I HATE flying. I get REALLY nervous. Have I mentioned that before? I can’t stress it enough: I HATE FLYING! I figured, I have to get it done though, it's just the one place that's a bit too far to drive. I remembered thinking that I wanted to videotape myself driving up there talking about my summer like I am now. I wanted to document this and maybe show it to someone one day. Too bad I didn't, it would have made for a great submission for the DMB contest about the Gorge that was done. I don't own a video camera, so airplane, here I come!
September 5th –
We flew to Seattle and stayed with a friend that night in a suburb. I'm sure we stayed up really late and I remember there being something big going on the internet that night. Maybe it was Phish announcing their NYE shows. I can't remember EVERYTHING. It was a long flight, after all.
September 6th –
During our drive to the east, we stopped at the food store and LOAD UP. We planned on camping out there in this little gorge five miles away from the venue. It takes a lot of food and beer to feed 40 of us. As soon as we got to the campground, I climbed up the huge rock face to the plateau above the river and sat for a while by myself. I think all of our people thought I was trying to show off, but I just wanted a moment to soak in the scenery. I knew there were a lot of things I'd done and a lot of places I'd been this summer that I may never return to and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to forget this place. I mean, everyone talks about how great it is, so I needed to, like I said, "soak it in." It gets late, we grab a bottle of Jaeger and head to the venue. Once we're inside I notice a few things I don't really like. First is you can only drink in the Beer Garden. Bummer. Second, the reserved seating is a bunch of zip-tied aluminum chairs laid out on a huge slab of asphalt. Then sun goes down and you're FREEZING. Not to mention the wind is blowing so hard the sound coming from the stacks sounds really muffled. Don't get me wrong, the view is fantastic and I'd even take two nights of DMB playing in a dumpster any day, but I guess everyone had hyped the Gorge so much that there was just no way it was going to live up to the expectation. It's cool that I was at the show that's now a DVD and my roommate is actually in the Grey Street video air-drumming as a madman, but I see the place as something that I've done now and don't really see myself flying 3,000 miles to do it again.
September 7th –
It’s another night, another show. We had to leave that night to drive back to Seattle to catch a REALLY early flight, so this was it, my last show of the summer... REALLY, this time. About two thirds of the way into the show I head back to the lawn and sit for a little while. It was a nice 20 minutes to again, taking in this summer I'd just had. All of the traveling, partying, people I'd met, Grey Streets I'd heard (I got it at every show except for two and 9.7 sadly was one of them. The show ended, and we got back to the campground, said goodbye to everyone and headed back to Seattle and the real world. By 7:00 we were on a plane to Chicago and the next day I hopped in the car and drove back to school. I went to 29 shows, traveled to 24 states, and drove 17,000 miles in two months.
I talk about this summer all the time, my girlfriend's SICK of it I'm sure. I have a large plastic bag full of random things I kept from all the random places I was. It really was two months that defined who I was - a young, single guy who was four years into college with no responsibility but a desire to experience everything possible. I take a lot of what I learned that summer and apply it to my life today. I don't worry as much as I used to, my anxiety attacks are practically non-existent. I encourage younger people around me to be adventurous, don't just go to college in your hometown and live at home because it's easy and secure - live life and experience all that you can. You can't compare the venture of living far away from family and friends for the most exciting years of your life to being under the same roof as your parents. I don't get caught up in why I can't do things, I excel in finding ways to make things possible. My relationships with people were stronger than ever shortly after that summer. I'm out of college now and work an 8am to 7pm day, six days a week, but I still talk to many of those friends on a regular basis.
I spend a LOT of time working on a tour archive website, but that's about it for my current DMB life. This summer was about more than just Dave Matthews Band. It was about friends, fun, a summer packed with a lifetime's experiences. The first song I ever liked by the band was Best of What's Around. I heard it for the first time ten years ago and that's what got me into them. That WAS a sign and it brought me to such a wonderful group of people that I am forever thankful and indebted to this band for making a part of my life what it is. I hope that they continue to touch lives in a such a profound way as they have touched mine.
Thanks for reading y’all, and be well.
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